Anyone remember the good old days when flying was more than just a trip on a glorified bus?
I like an airline that still has some degree of inflight service, inflight entertainment, and meal service on longer flights. Some people don't like airline food, but as far as I'm concerned, I'd rather have service, than bring my own magazine, food, etc. That's for the longer flights.
For shorter flights it really isn't a big deal though I do enjoy being served a drink inflight. And swiping the safety cards and inflight mag when no one is looking.
It's part of experience that makes flying different from bus travel, save for one being faster than the other.
I'm not for the transition of the airline industry into nothing more than the greyhoud of the skies. Even SWA provides more inflight service than you're suggesting the airlines do. And SWA is a LCC.
So I can't say I agree. From an economics standpoint, the airlines would LOVE to lower the service to that level, and lower the seat pitch even further, because it would save them millions annually. Imagine the savings without the expense of inflight mags, drinks, music channels, headphones, etc...plus an additional 10 people crammed into each airplane. The majors would love it.
The passengers wouldn't. Seat pitch doesn't matter as much on a short flight...to a degree. if my knees are being pinched by the seat in front of me, then even on a 1 hour flight that's too long to have to deal with that. All the passengers on a short flight these days get at least a little bit of attention, if only to ask if they want a bag of peanuts. I'd rather have that, than be completely ignored for the flight.
For longer flights passengers, myself included, expect a little more, especially from the big names like AA
. People know what they're getting when they fly on jetblue or southwest. but when they fly AA
, they expect a higher degree of service. It's just how the airline is recognized, along with most of the other majors.
Why do you think that people look back on aviation in the 50s through the 70s as being the "glory" days of air travel? For aviation enthusiasts, it's for the classic airliners. But for everybody, it's because back then you had a completely different experience than you have today. Good food, good drinks, lots of service even domestic, you could sometimes get a meal on a Los Angeles to Chicago flight. People miss those days of service, but economically, they were a nightmare.
What we have today is a compromise. Where's the fun in air travel if there's absolutely nothing inflight except the view out the window and what you bring along with you? Unless you're flying your own plane or in a small aircraft like a Baron, the whole "experience" of air travel becomes much more...mundane, generic, sterile. Might as well take the bus.
Keep service in the airlines. I'd like to see service IN
-creased, but we know that there isn't the funds to do that.
I'm flying to Hawaii next year. I've ruled out flying a carrier that doesn't provide much inflight service, because this will be the first time I'll get to experience a long haul, and I really would like to have a chance to experience real IFE and real airline meals for a change. Not take a 5 hour bus over the pacific. And I'm willing to pay extra for that additional service, too. Price isn't everything when deciding to book a flight. The service and reputation of the airline come into play as well, along with the schedule and aircraft type.
Anyway, call me picky, flame me all you want, but inflight service, no matter how large or small, should never be completely done away with, or dummied down even lower than what the LCC's provide. It just makes flying that much more special, and keeps that many more flight attendants with paychecks to feed their families with. I am NOT for laying off another 25% of workers in the industry, talk about a crazy idea. Where are these people going to work now that you've laid them all off. From a flight JFK
to flipping burgers at Mcdonalds, there's a glorifying career change. Have a heart.
But yes, from an economics standpoint, the majors would love your idea. But some of us, including those holding jobs in the industry, would like the jobs of the flight attendants to remain. And I'll stand by that.
[Edited 2003-08-22 00:31:53]